Moving to the Head of the Team: Are You Ready to Take Over?

Moving to the head of the team

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." – Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American management theory pioneer. Few of us join an organization with the intention of remaining a low-level worker forever. With the proper credentials, a few years of team play under your belt, and the right attitude, you're almost certain to receive a promotion to a position of greater authority in time. Are you ready to take over the reins when the time comes? Lead by Example Many workers dream of becoming a manager someday, but how many actually plan how they'll do the job when they get it? (Click to Tweet!) If you think or know you're on the management track, or just really want to be, you'd best start planning ahead before the grooming even starts. Mental preparation and obs … [Read more...]

Working On Mundane Tasks

orking On Mundane Tasks by Laura Stack #productivity podcast

Laura Stack shares tips on completing mundane tasks. (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Have You Reached the Breaking Point at Work?

160517 Blow Off Some Steam 800x400- Laura screaming in her office

Stress: The confusion caused when one's mind overrides the body’s natural desire to choke someone who desperately needs it. – A slightly sanitized pop-culture definition of "Stress" At one time or another, we've all reached the breaking point at work: the place where you have to get away from the pressure, the distraction, the politics, and the complaints before you just lose it all and dissolve into a babbling mess on the floor. If you live in Dallas (the setting, ironically, of Mike Judge's Office Space, the exemplar of office breakdown movies), then you can actually go to a business called The Anger Room and start beating things up. For sessions starting at five minutes and lasting for as long as half an hour, you can whale on old computers, printers, fax machines, TVs, and off … [Read more...]

Can Money Buy Time?

Down Time Doesn't Have to Be Wasted Time

Can Money Buy Time? Absolutely! (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

It’s What’s Inside That Counts: The Triumph of Intrinsic Motivation


"People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, dignity, curiosity, joy in learning… monetary awards are not a substitute for intrinsic motivation." – W. Edwards Deming, American author, statistician, and engineer. To the shock of many managers and executives of the older generations, throwing extra money and privileges at underperforming workers no longer causes them to perk up and start producing like they should. Oh, it helps on occasion or temporarily, especially for younger workers and during economic downturns. But increasingly, motivations imposed from the outside simply fail. To many leaders, this seems bizarre, but they're viewing the picture only from their own perspectives; they assume what would work for them works for everyone. But it doesn't always work, especially w … [Read more...]

Sincere Teamwork: Identifying and Avoiding False Cooperation

Sincere Teamwork

"Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don't." —Bill Nye the Science Guy, American scientist and educator. Every major accomplishment in history—from figuring out how to make a rock into a spear point to the construction of the International Space Station—has resulted from people working together, often in great numbers over a long period of time. Even the "lone wolf geniuses" we idolize usually have a talented team around them or a devoted support group, if not both. While I would argue that traditional teams have begun decentralizing due to technological and cultural evolution, this doesn't mean teamwork will be any less valuable in the future. If anything, it will become more important than ever. Dealing with Poseurs In the biological world, there are symbionts, … [Read more...]

Down Time Does Not Have To Be Wasted Time

Down Time Doesn't Have to Be Wasted Time

Stuck somewhere? Laura Stack shows you how to use unexpected down time so your productivity doesn't have to get stuck. (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]

Time Management Lessons Learned from a Fortune 25 Leadership Team

drawing financial graph - improve -  600px

A few weeks ago, upon the invitation of an officer in a Fortune 25 corporation, I spent the day with his leadership team discussing the concepts in my newest book, Doing the Right Things Right: How the Effective Executive Spends Time. With many new initiatives in the pipeline, his leaders were facing time management challenges around getting everything done, personally and within their respective teams. While much of our conversation is confidential around specific business strategies of course, I can share some of the insights we discovered. I shared my 3T Leadership Model, which describes where leaders divide their time: Part I: Strategic Thinking (Business) Acting as the organizational strategist, with the focus on business goals. The leader monitors the big picture and makes sure … [Read more...]

Improved Communication: 3 Simple Ways to Boost Your Team’s Productivity

Improving Communication

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said. — Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-American father of management theory. One of the things separating us from the animals is our ability to communicate easily and clearly. If fact, communication has helped us greatly widen that gap in the millennia since the first meaningful words left a human throat. We've even adapted to speech biologically, with a special bone (the hyoid) that exists mostly just to support the tongue. If a clear communication method had never come about, we might never have invented writing, and our culture would have stalled in the Neolithic—if not earlier. Every day, communication methods continue to improve, in ways both cultural and technological. (Tweet this!) In this blog, I'll suggest thre … [Read more...]

Do Your Picky Standards Keep Others From Helping You?

Sometimes you need to pick your battles to save time. Does it have to be perfect, or does it just have to be DONE? (C) 2016 Laura Stack, All Rights Reserved. … [Read more...]